Two Saturday ago, we celebrated my son Gabriel’s life with our 8th 12 hour event in his memory.
It was a fun filled day with activities happening simultaneously.
Before the official start, Maiqui and Drew already started their ironman with their 4k swim.
People started running and biking at 6 am…
and the kids tri was on it’s way at 7am.
The kids tri was special to me because my daughter Nadine did a tri in memory of her baby brother Gabriel.
We had the awarding for the kids tri then I did my bike ride.
After lunch, our new beneficiaries, the barefoot running kids arrived.
We had a class on cartoon drawing for them care of fellow triathlete Wayne Dearing and his wife Stella and their company, Top Draw Animation, led by animator Nary Jamlig.
Our special guest Filipino champion boxer, ranked 4th in the world, pound for pound Nonito Donaire and his wife Taekwando champ Rachel joined the kids for the cartoon drawing lessons and later for the run.
Then we had our special surprise, new shoes for the kids c/o New Balance.
After that we had the arnis demo…
our sunset run and relays for the kids.
Maiqui and Drew crossed the finish line amidst the loud cheering of the kids who also sang happy birthday to Maiqui.
I cried at the finish line. So did Ani and Mailet. It was just such a beautiful scene. — to be among friends who cared enough to make a difference in the lives of other kids.
My son Gabriel lived for 9 months. Every September, we celebrate his short life with a 12 hour event in his memory. Friends come to run, walk, bike or do a triathlon. By doing this, our foundation, Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation, raises funds for kids who are disadvantaged either because of a disability, sickness or poverty.
I like to think of it as a venue for families to have a day of fitness and fun while helping others. My own kids have done different things over the years. The first year, they actually biked and ran throughout the day stopping only to eat and rest. The succeeding years, they did the kids tri. This year, they both ran the 3k run with their friends. Anthony Pangilan and his son Donny won the Parent and Child buddy run (official results of all the events will be posted on Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation).
The kids triathlon and aquathlon was fun as always. Coach Ani de Leon’sSuper Kids, ourfuture national triathletes were there in full force.Three year old Kira Ellis was our youngest participant (youtube video of super kids).
Fresh from the CamSur 70.3 Ironman, my tri-friends,organized themselves into groups to do an ironman relay. There were 12 teams in all, including two all girls teams called Little Twin Star and Hello Kitty! The Carpo sisters crossed the finish line with their teammates in colorful head gear and attire. Similarly, the sea princess, Tessa Prieto Valdes biked in her tutu. Inspired by all this,I told Ani and Mailet, we should have a best in costume award next year!
Some of the visually impaired kids, beneficiaries of our Foundation were there too. They did a demo swim, which prompted me to tell their coach that they may want to train and participate in the aquathon next year.
Later that morning they did a demo of table tennis specially designed for visually impaired individuals. We have donated 2 of these tables to blind schools and has committed to donate some more.
We also forged a new tie-up with Carewell Community, a foundation dedicated to provide support for cancer patients and their families. We did a Carewell Bikes for Hope and raised funds both for Gabriel’s foundation and Carewell.
And of course, my friend, Maiqui Dayrit, did his 5th ironman.Every year, he worries that he is not in shape. But regardless of the shape he is in, he does his 3.8k swim, 180k bike and 42k run. He is by far, the foundation’s, longest running, largest individual donor. God bless your heart and keep you healthy and running strong Maiqui!
As Maiqui was finishing his run,my brothers and some friends on a whim, decided to do a 200 meter sprint.The arrangement was regardless of who wins, the group would donate to the foundation. The run lasted all of a few seconds but it was totally fun watching them.
Then we came up with the idea of having my senate staff do the same 200 meter sprint. Some of the women in my office are quite fit… In fact, three of them Mich, Marvee and Karen did their first sprint triathlon relay in the UP College of Law Dean’s Cup a few weks ago.
There was just too much that happened that day for me to be sad. I miss my son every day of my life. But so much goodness has come out of his short life. I thank everyone who has made this day memorable, for taking time to join us and for making a difference in the lives of children.